Sussex County Council is expected to vote soon on the appointment of a new member to the planning and zoning commission to replace Chairman Marty Ross.
Representing Council District 5, Ross, who lives near Delmar, is retiring after nine years; his term ends June 30.
It's up to Councilman Rob Arlett, R-Frankford, to place an applicant on the agenda for a vote. During council's June 5 meeting, Arlett said the process was evolving, and now includes an online application. “We are going to do the vetting process that way from now on,” he said. “In the past, it was done by word of mouth between council members.”
Under Delaware code, the commission can have no more than three members of one political party. Because three Republicans are on the commission, the replacement must be a member of another party and must reside in District 5.
Due to time restraints, Arlett said, the process has been speeded up in order to have an applicant chosen by the end of June. He said three residents in the district have applied, been reviewed by Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson and the names have been shared with council members. “It's private information at this point because we still need more time,” Arlett said.
He said the chosen applicant would be announced during the Tuesday, June 12 meeting and the applicant would have a public interview during the Tuesday, June 19 meeting. At that time, council could choose to vote or defer to the final meeting in June.
“I'm very excited about the process and the quality of the candidates,” Arlett said.
Commissioner Keller Hopkins’ term expired in 2017, and he has yet to be reappointed. Hopkins of Bridgeville represents Council District 2.
Title 19: Commission regulated by state law
“Appointees shall be persons having the knowledge and experience to pass upon planning and zoning problems in connection with urban and rural development, and who at the time of appointment are not candidates for or incumbents of an elective public office.”
• No more than two members can live in the same district.
• No more than three members of one political party.
• Only one member can live in an incorporated town or city.
• Commissioners serve three-year terms.
• The commission consists of seven members including five appointees, and the county engineer and a member of county government as non-voting members.